Intensive Technical Assistance Workshops
The Colorado Farm to School Task Force held three regional Intensive Technical Assistance Workshops in 2016. The ITAs were designed as mini-conferences, providing critical training to support local food access and procurement by institutional kitchens. See the 2016 ITA Workshop flyer for more detail.
Producer Grant Programs
In addition to the training workshops, this year we are excited to offer two incredible opportunities to producers and their communities (see flyer on 2016 FTS producer grant programs):
1. FTS Mentor Program. A unique producer peer-to-peer program pairs producers new to the school food institutional marketplace with a seasoned FTS producer. This program’s mission is to increase the number of Colorado’s fruit and vegetable producers who are willing and able to sell to Colorado schools and bolster the FTS marketplace. The program is funded by a 2016 USDA Farm to School grant. Interested in becoming a mentor? Do know producers who would be a great farm to school mentors? Nominate them! See the FTS Mentor Program flyer for more information.
NOMINATE a Mentor: Complete this short ONLINE FORM.
2. FTS Regional Grant Competition. Formal on-farm food safety is one of the biggest barriers to small/mid-size producers entering the institutional marketplace and one of the major concerns that school food services faces when deciding to procure locally. Through a generous grant from CoBank, the three 2016 ITA regions will be vying for a $90,000 grant to support local producers to implement formal on-farm food safety plans that follow Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP) protocols. Regions will need to demonstrate their readiness for starting or increasing their farm to school efforts by showing key stakeholders — school food service directors, local producers, and other local food organizations — are ready to partner with each other. The grant application will be available at the regional ITAs. Deadline to submit application: March 15, 2016, 5pm.
Download the FTS regional grant competition flyer and share with partners in your region.
Tri-River Region, January 29, 2016
North Front Range, February 5, 2016
South Front Range, February 12, 2016
With generous grants from the Gates Family Foundation and The Colorado Health Foundation, the Colorado FTS Task Force in partnership with Real Food Colorado is able to provide the customized Intensive Technical Assistance (ITA) Workshops to three regions per year.
Past ITA Events
When: February 23-24, 2015
Location: Canyon View Vineyard Church, 736 24 1/2 Road, Grand Junction, CO
1. Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit Workshop
The FTS Evaluation Toolkit is a resource that helps FTS programs of all sizes conduct evaluation. The toolkit training walks participants through the steps of an evaluation, providing specific guidance and data collection tools.
What participants had to say:
“I had not seen the benefits of evaluation but will give serious consideration to using them in the future. I will now know where I can go for help to implement the process.”
“Thank you for your interaction and involvement!”
2. Mesa County Local Food Stakeholder Session
An interactive discussion focusing on key elements support Mesa County’s local food efforts. The session included breakout sessions to develop a draft of a local food action plan.
3. Farm to Institution
The session focused on the Farm to Plate initiatives in the institutional world.
4. School Farms
The session focused on leveraging underutilized school lands to grow food used in school meals.
San Miguel County
When: October 11, 2014
Location: Norwood Community Center, 1679 Naturita Street, Norwood, CO
1. San Miguel Local Food Community Session
An important foundation of developing a local food roadmap is gather key stakeholder within the regional community to participate in a facilitated discussion to identify the current landscape of local and regional food and farm to school efforts, as well as identify immediate to long term goals to support its regional food system. This session included:
- Local Happenings and Perspective in the San Miguel Region
- School Food
- Farmers’ Market
- Developing Local Distribution
When: Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Location: Salida High School, 26 Jones Avenue, Salida, CO 81201
1. Local Food in Rural Communities
Learn how rural communities can develop a regional food system that supports their unique needs and increase the ability to access more local foods. This session will focus on three key items:
- Regional procurement,
- Managing growth and next steps in current programs,
- Network development with other communities to share resources.
2. Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit
The Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit is a resource that helps farm to school programs of all sizes conduct evaluation. Evaluation can serve many purposes for FTS programs, including demonstration of a program’s success or progress. Evaluation information helps districts better communicate their FTS program’s impact to funders, parents, school leadership, and other stakeholders. The toolkit training workshop will walk participants through the steps of an evaluation, providing specific guidance and data collection tools. Implementation technical assistance is available post-workshop to attendees.
3. Safety First: Addressing Food Safety from Farm to Cafeteria
Food safety is the number one concern food service directors cite when considering local food sourcing. This workshop includes a hands-on review, guidance and tutorial for on-farm food safety, HACCP development and other food safety measures for producers and school food buyers who are exploring how to get products from the ground to institutional cafeterias.
4. Food and Agriculture in School Curriculum
An interactive workshop addressing a broad integration of Farm to School and local food production in school curriculum with activities that will provide a hands-on approach to how educators and programmers can leverage local food and agriculture to support core multi-curriculum from K-12.
When: January 30, 2014
Location: Odell Brewing Company, 800 East Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80524
1. Larimer Local Happenings
Presentations from Fort Collins Food Cluster will provide insight into the local food activities supporting a deeper connection in the local food supply chain. The Colorado Farm to School Task Force will present a statewide lens that provides an overview on various FTS programming. This session includes breakout groups to identify Larimer county’s next steps in their FTS journey.
2. Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit
Learn why and how to evaluate your FTS activities with hands-on workshop to help you get started.
3. School Garden Workshop
Hands-on workshop addressing critical areas that are essential in supporting school gardens including the pursuit of sustainability gardens in health and wellness education, and a wealth of resources.
4. Producer and Institution Engagement
Sourcing for farm to school – the highs and lows from the perspective of the Poudre School district and regional producers. Come meet each other and begin to develop relationships that will lead to long lasting farm to school partnerships.
San Luis Valley
When: November 18-19, 2013
Location: San Luis Valley Health Regional Medical Center, Mt. Blanca Room in the Conference Center, 1921 Main Street, Alamosa, CO 81101
1. San Luis Valley Stakeholder Session
An interactive Session that offers a unique opportunity for the San Luis Valley local food community members to share and articulate current local food efforts as well as map identified next steps into a “work plan.” This work plan is designed by participating stakeholders based on community criteria such as need, value, readiness, impact, and other factors.
- Identifying Farm to School and Institution Challenges
- Immediate Next Steps
- Long Term Goals
- Resources Needed
2. Farm to School in the New Meal Pattern
The Task Force will offer a collaborative work session that focuses on how Farm to School (FTS) supports the New Meal Pattern (NMP). As part of the presentation, Task Force school food specialists will provide resources and methods of application to incorporate the Valley’s local food ingredients in school meals. Resources will include USDA FNS’ approved menus featuring ingredients available in the Valley and local food resources readily available in the Valley.
3. Farm to School 101
Provide insight into key components supporting and advancing local sourcing in institutional meal programs. The session will focus on applying geographic preference, utilizing local food bids, understanding on-farm food safety issues and garden to cafeteria food safety protocols.
When: May 9-10, 2013
Location: Colorado Mountain College, 690 Colorado Avenue, Carbondale, CO 81623
1. Why Farm to School Matters
Farm to school values and beliefs presented by the Roaring Fork Food Policy Council. Overview of farm to school programs in Colorado.
2. Connecting School Gardens to Curriculum
Interactive workshop to share how school gardens fit in farm to school programs, how classroom teachers can use a garden to teach science, math, literacy, and health with example lesson plans. Followed by a tour of the Roaring Fork High School greenhouse and outdoor gardens.
3. Get Connected on Colorado Market Maker
Hands-on session to create a farm to school profile on the statewide virtual local food marketplace platform for producers, schools, restaurants, and other businesses interested in making local food connections.
4. Farm to School for Small Districts
Best practices shared by small Colorado school districts for school food service directors and staff, producers, and local partners.
5. Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit
Learn why and how to evaluate farm to school activities with a hands-on workshop to get started on an evaluation plan and learn how to use the toolkit.